pursuit of his theological studies at home, in his
father's house, and partly, in visiting different
places, preaching occasionally, and cultivating an
acquaintance with some of the most eminent ministers and professors of the Church of Scotland. In
the course of this period, he received a number of
calls from vacant congregations; but the opposition of those in power, and other difficulties that
occurred, prevented his assuming the pastoral office.
June, 1630, Mr. Livingston was present at the
celebration of the Lord's Supper in a certain place.
Being yet merely a licentiate, he, of course, took
no part in its appropriate services; but the next
day, the congregation still remaining, and expressing a desire for some additional service, he was
prevailed upon to preach.
The occasion was one of more than ordinary
interest and solemnity; the circumstances under
which he was constrained to preach were somewhat remarkable; and the happy fruits of the
spirit which accompanied and followed the sermon
were truly astonishing. Rarely, perhaps, has any
single sermon been attended with such memorable
and glorious results, since the days of the apostles.
A respectable writer gives the following account of the occasion and the sermon [Gillies].
"As the kirk of Shotts lies on the road from
the west to Edinburgh, and is at a good distance
from any convenient place of entertainment, some
ladies of rank, who had occasion to pass that way,
met, at different times, with civilities, from the minister [Mr. John Hance] at his house, which was then situate where
the public inn is now. Particularly once, when
through some misfortune befalling their coach or
chariot, they were obliged to pass a night in the
minister's house; they observed, that besides its
incommodious situation, it much needed to be repaired. They, therefore, used their interest to get
a more convenient house built for the minister in another place."
"After receiving so substantial favours, the minister waited on the ladies, and expressed his desire
to know if any thing was in his power, that might
testify his gratitude to them. They answered it
would be very obliging to them, if he would invite,
to assist at his communion, certain ministers whom
they named, who were eminently instrumental in
promoting practical religion. The report of this